deeeeeeep breath


A lot has happened recently in the life of this piece.  Wednesday was the film shoot.  I wasn’t anticipating it to be anywhere as beautiful as it turned out.  We got the vantage point (Thanks Jonathon!!!) and now the film holds a much stronger voice than I anticipated.

Honestly, I was struggling with the transitions on and off of the canvases, and also working through what I wanted the relationship to be between the screen dance and the live dance.  I wanted some competition between the screen and the live dance, but also some harmony as well.  Having the SPEAKeasy made me realize that audiences sometimes do want the option to choose where they put their focus.  It doesn’t always have to be explicit.  That was the thought with the moving coordinates–the audience journeys through the space with the live dance and/or choosing a stationary viewing of the screen dance.  The hope was that it would be a little of both.  Atmospheric.  Sequential.

But after seeing the footage, I was so struck with where the piece wanted to take me.  The film needs to be primary and the movement secondary.  The voice of the film is so strong, and the screen is so dominant, that there needs to be some submission on the part of the live piece.  So all that to say, I’m revamping the work.  We still have the movement vocabulary, quality, and relationships to each other, but there’s a major shift of axis.  And the landscape just became smaller and more intimate.  Quiet.

Rehearsal today at the CAM!  yahoo!  Except I pulled my next last night in rehearsal and it’s in spasm.  Send up those prayers please:)

quick update


It’s been a couple of days so here’s the haps:

Wednesday we shot the film component for the CAM piece.  We got very, very graphite-y.  Kristen said she had to take 5 showers to get the majority of it off, and at rehearsal on Saturday, she still had traces on her feet…

Thursday was the Clear Skies Party and the postcards came in.  They’re beau-t-ious.  Send me a comment here or on the website ( and I can mail you one

Sunday was Theater District Day.  Lots of postcards handed out.  Welcome, new Frame Fans! I also watched the footage from the shoot on Wednesday.  It’s so great that I’m totally rethinking the piece.  Sometimes you have to follow the white rabbit….  Now sleep so I can continue falling down that hole tomorrow ;0

An interview with Donna E. Perkins


I’ve mentioned Donna E. Perkins in earlier posts, but I wanted to give readers a glimpse of herself, her art and her involvement with Frame from her own perspective.  I asked Donna about her journey to becoming a professional artist, her current love for painting with color, and what it’s like to collaborate with dancers. (And also where you can see her work!)  This is what she wrote:

As a child, young enough to stand in the pew, I was given paper and pencil to keep me still during church. I was given oil paints in junior high. I’ve been drawing and painting ever since. After years of being an art teacher and a social worker to support myself and my art, I’m now a full time artist.

I get excited by gutsy, edgy art, something with a bit of the raw to it. I’m fascinated by movement, by bodies, by plants and other organic forms.

I steal lines and choreograph them into abstractions. The structural lines for my drawings and paintings are collected from my reality. I love drawing from dancers dancing. While I focus in the edge of a dancer’s body to begin a line, the dancer moves and my line takes off after that movement. I collect lines quickly and scatter them across the paper or canvas.

I love the line; I love the movement of the dance. My attention span is short and fragmented. I find getting lines to fit together as “one figure in the middle of a room composition” to be tedious. I really don’t care about the room.

Color is terribly complex. I’m a bit terrified by it as it gets totally out of control in my paintings. There has been a certain safety and comfort in using only black and white for the past seven years.  Actually I was going beyond the restriction of black and white these past few years. I was using only graphite, clear gesso and white gesso, layers and layers of graphite and gesso. While I draw quickly, my painting process is slow and meditative.

After my show Entanglements at Archway Gallery in June of 2009, in which I had 32 black & white paintings, I wanted to try color again. My first efforts did not please me. Then I began to use color to stain the canvas before I drew. Next I tried to do my process with using graphite, one color, black and matt medium. Lately I’ve jumped into color with both feet – bright, bright, bright – in oil paint.

I love working with the dancers. Visually it’s a treat to be so close. It’s fascinating to see them develop new work. The speed at which dancers process movement astounds me. It takes me a moment to discern right from left.  I find my own body to be awkward and clumsy. Years ago I joked that in my next life I wanted to be a dancer. This is as close as I’m going to get.

My work is now in several places:

Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy, Houston,

Bogan Gallery, 2217 Postoffice, Galveston,

nv4living, 3040 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 1440, Houston, 713-490-2684

Block 7 Wine Company, 720 Shepherd, Houston, thru August 2010

donna e perkins

Art Square Studios, 2711 Main @ Dennis

Pregnant Pause
Flight Over Ancient Places
Past Time
Poems for a Lost Love
Tourist Colors Smudged to Grays

Spacetaker’s recap on the SPEAKeasy


Dance, text, type, watch: This month’s Artist SPEAKeasy recap
Submitted by Spacetaker on Mon, Aug 23rd at 3:30 pm

This month’s Artist SPEAKeasy was a real treat. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a brief recap including where you can catch more of our two artist presenter’s work.

Ms. Lydia Hance, dancer/choreographer and director of Frame Dance Productions, kicked off the evening by using the Speakeasy forum as a Fieldwork workshop with a new twist: live immediate feedback to a live work-in-progress dance performance.

Everyone pulled out their cell phones, a few hopped on to computers around the room, and roughly half of the audience chose to either text, tweet or type their feelings and responses to a three-person live dance performance happening in front of their eyes by Lydia and two other dancers, Kristen Frankiewicz and Alex Soares. The other half of the audience chose the non-tech route and waited until the end of the performance to offer their feedback.

Lydia is interested in the differences and similarities between live instant feedback and feedback at the end of a body of work. She uses both sets of feedback to influence her choreography — in fact she plans to use our SPEAKeasy audience feedback to help her finish choreographing the piece.

Before the performance began, Lydia explained the type of feedback that is most helpful and critical in the Fieldwork model. Rather than offering subjective opinion-based feedback such as “I liked…” or “You shouldn’t do…” or “This was good…,” the more helpful type of feedback is experiential in nature, like this:

“When you did your work, I saw…”
“I was most involved by…”
“The work you did reminded me of…”
“When you did your work, I thought you were trying to…”

Most people stuck to this feedback method and the comments texted and tweeted in were projected on our screen behind the dancers. Things like:

“i feel impending doom…like something bad is going to happen…worried”
“i feel like flying, like i want to take off..but i cannot…its frustrating”
“It reminds me of snow capped mountains”
“i find myself trying to create a story”
“there is a fine line between extreme anger and extreme joy”
“I thought you were trying to put a club beat to the end of your movements”

At the end, one audience member commented about how she felt like she had to make a conscious choice between three things: watching the dancers, figuring out what to type on her phone, and then reading the feedback on the screen that other people were submitting. Some people found the instant feedback a distraction from enjoying the performance, some found that they were more engaged in the performance because they knew they were expected to comment on it.

You can catch the finished piece by Lydia Hance along with a short film that will accompany it during the CAMH’s Dance with Camera Exhibition, Points and Coordinates, on Sept. 16 at 7 pm. (It’ll be interesting to see if we can see how her choreography changes based on our SPEAKeasy audience feedback!)

Check out Frame Dance Production’s blog for updates and more about what Lydia and her crew are up to! This post in particular is fabulous as we learn that visual artist Donne E. Perkins is collaborating with Lydia and drawing new work based on the lines she sees in her choreography.

Many thanks to our friend and Spacetaker board member Ed Schipul for snapping some great photos and posting them to his Spacetaker album on Flickr. (photos above by Ed Schipul)

Tomorrow we’ll tell you about the 2nd artist presenter, Mr. Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola.


Real Time Responses from the Speakeasy


Hello! Happy Monday!

I have the live responses listed below from the Spacetaker Speakeasy.
In a later post I will dive into some specifics with these–what they’ve made me think about in regards to the piece, how they are influencing the creation of the piece…

I ask you:
Those of you who attended: do you have any further comments, or questions about the piece or the dialogue below?

Those of you who weren’t at Spacetaker: what are your reactions to this dialogue? What do these comments make you think of? In other words, how do you imagine the piece considering these pieces of information and reflections?

Piece Begins.

Emergency…I am low on beer… Web 19:19:21
i always wonder when movement becomes dance Web 19:22:21
the sounds and movement reminds me of waking up on the beach, after being…. Web 19:22:46
I wasn’t expecting the sound of the canvas Text (US) 19:22:57
Ooh she’s getting her feet dirty Text (US) 19:23:03
Body print smear writhe Twitter 19:23:16
I feel relaxed Text (US) 19:23:28
i am feeling tired, like i want to go to sleep relaxed, calm Web 19:23:35
i feel impending doom…like something bad is going to happen…worried Web 19:24:14
if I tweet what I’m thinking the group will thinlk I’m shallow, which is insecure of me Text (US) 19:24:20
the crayons catch the gestures! Twitter 19:24:32
i feel like i need to say good morning Web 19:24:41
how choreographed are the lines? Text (US) 19:25:14
trying to fix something.. Move something.. Text (US) 9:25:18
feels like boats Twitter 19:25:30
i miss finger painting…think i need to get my set out Web 19:25:34
I felt symmentry/centralization with the center point on the single canvas.Text (US) 19:25:53
the drumming is hypnotic…something is wrong Web 19:25:56
hello back Web 19:26:13
wait, she just crossed a barrier and hit/touched the other canvas. Why? Now off! Text (US) 19:26:30
breaking out of the box…expanding Web 19:27:02
clicks and whirrs and tweets Twitter 19:27:24
i wonder what the cello/strings symbolize…wisdom, calmness, truth Web 19:27:26
This is the training of the multiple tasking viewer Text (US) 19:27:47
i feel like flying, like i want to take off..but i cannot…its frustrating Web 19:27:51
what motivated leaving the canvas? Text (US) 19:28:48
angular movement can be joyous…i feel joy, innocence Web 19:28:58
is that gunpowder? Will it explode from friction on the floor? #scrape #scrape Text (US) Wed, 19:29:14
Mindfulness & crayons. Force Text (US) 19:29:26
I feel sad that I haunt seen the move I helped create yet 🙂 Text (US) 19:29:30
feeling joyous, angular movement can be freeing Web 19:29:32
is that gunpowder? Will it explode from friction on the floor? #scrape #scrape Text (US) 19:30:04
i find myself wanting to find animals in the movements, but i can’t so i imagine them Web 19:30:10
I feel inspired to stretch and see what my body can do Text (US) 19:30:25
I am interested in the gestures Text (US) 19:30:55
it reminds me of snow capped mountains Text (US) 19:31:03
the dancers transformed into the line particles n shades they started from.Text (US) 19:31:22
sometimes you don’t think people would move like that– but what else could?Twitter 19:31:26
i find myself trying to create a story Web 19:31:31
there is a fine line between extreme anger and extreme joy Web 19:32:01
we are here for each other Text (US) 19:32:36
I thought you were trying to put a club beat to the end of your movements Text (US) 19:32:43
i am feeling selfish, this is about me, not you Web 19:32:45
finding I don’t want to text, I want to watch. And still worried about the gunpowder Text (US) 19:33:37
supermodify walk twirl Twitter 19:33:50
its like jazz, in dance, with trains Text (US) 19:35:27
do they see eachother? Text (US) 19:35:31
silence is beautiful…but i feel scared Web 19:35:57
rt “do they see each other?” Text (US) 19:37:02
glad this wasn’t interrupted with a train whistle solo. Twitter 19:37:29
conflict. Desire to watch. As “part” of the performance now group obligation comes up. Good/bad both. #obligations Text (US) 19:39:53

Thankful Thursday


Last night was the Spacetaker SPEAKeasy. It was wonderful to have the space to show Points and Coordinates in its early stages. We set up the room semi in-the-square. There were chairs on three sides, and the projector screen on the fourth wall. Quite a few people joined in live feedback through web, twitter and texting. Those responses, in a dialogue, were projected onto the screen as we danced. In a coming post I will address, entertain, and ponder these responses. Excited to do that! Thank you all who came out and give your thoughts through live feedback and the discussion afterward.

I framed the feedback in the model of Fieldwork, which is a weekly/semi-weekly artist work group that I facilitate in Houston. These types of responses come from an experiential place, rather than a directive place. The audience–actually, participants–did this effectively and flawlessly. Bravo and thank you for your thoughts and willingness to join us in this process. Please feel free to make comments that come up on this blog.

SPEAKeasy attendees: have you had any further thoughts about the piece last night or about live feedback in a dance context? Can we expand that dialogue we had last night here?

Photos by Ed Schipul

I love these dancers


Today Alex, Kristen and I met at the CAM to walk through the space, discuss the score a bit more and work out some logistics. They both had so many great ideas and things to discuss, and Points and Coordinates is moving forward. Thanks to you, dancers, for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and selves with this process. There was a group rehearsing there as well, and it made me realize how much I love to work with my dancers, because they have so much to contribute. Come see them dancing tomorrow at the Spacetaker SpeakEASY. 6:30 pm at Winter Street Studios.

SpeakEASY discussion


I’m working on questions, ideas, concepts that have intrigued me about this dance response scenario I am creating in this week’s SpeakEASY.  I thought I would be dividing the group into two sections, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that there needs to be a third group.  For a while, I was thinking the third group would be a post-dance response group that would also be following of the comments/discussion held by the real-time responders.  But I think that may just muddle the dialogue.  The third group I am going to have will be people who do not wish to engage in response/dialogue about the work.  Those who prefer to be observers and audiences without the expectation to participate.  I’ll admit, sometimes I do feel like being in that category as an audience member.  Ok. Honestly? …I usually have quite a few thoughts going on about work when I see it and have an unending desire to engage, but sometimes I do feel like being in that third group.  Respect.

The third group will, of course, be involved in the discussion about the concept of this type of dialogue if they wish, but won’t participate in the dialogue specific to the work we show.  (If they don’t want to).  This is all about audience responses shaping this piece as it is very, very early in its conception.  So it’s all welcome.  If that’s confusing, here’s a bit of a flow to the presentation:  after we show the work, we will have time for the post-dance responses and then we will journey into the discussion about how the responses differ from group to group, and how this effects artist/audiences/dancers/technology.  I know that’s vague…I can’t give away all my mojo!

Come online or off.


Turn your cell phones on.  Or off.   Frame Dance Productions will show a new work in early stages of development at this week’s SpaceTaker.  The audience will be divided into two groups: real-time responders, and post-dance responders.  Those responding in real-time will use twitter, text and the web to respond to the work, and the those responding after the dance will have time for verbal discussion after the work has been danced.  It’s a workshop to evaluate how technology is helping and/or hindering honest, productive and instructive feedback and viewership.  Come online or off.

Winter Street Studios, Wednesday, Aug. 18. 6:30 pm.

We got a mention in the Culturemap article here.